One of the ways of dismissing an argument is to call it a conspiracy theory. Theories about conspiracies can be irrational and almost paranoid, leading many people not to give these theories any credence. But as the saying goes, just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you.
A criminal conspiracy is simply an agreement between persons to break the law in the future. In this sense the standard theory of 9/11 is a conspiracy theory – a group of Al-Qaeda members secretly conspired and planned to hijack planes and crash them into buildings. While this is technically a conspiracy theory, what we usually mean by that term is theories which involve collusion by those in power, or in positions of wealth and influence.
It is perhaps a part of human nature to band together with others to achieve advantage for oneself. In organisations for instance, I have found that people will automatically circle the wagons when faced with a complaint from outside. Suddenly their memories will fail, or documents will go missing that may have been supportive evidence for the complaint. Our democratic traditions recognise this problem and work around it by separation of powers – an independent judiciary, ombudsman, parliament etc. Each is supposed to keep the other in check by making it advantageous for each to do so. It is this delicate balance which has in the past give many Western democracies a reasonable record on fairness and protection of human rights.
Conspiracies however have of course continued and we only know about the ones that have failed and been uncovered. The so-called Business Plot was a plan to overthrow the United States Government in 1932 by a group of wealthy business leaders. Unhappy with Roosevelt’s new administration and its policies which were much more in favour of working people than the previous Hoover administration, these business leaders tried to convince retired Major General Smedley Butler to lead up to 500,000 disgruntled army veterans on a march on Washington. The plan was to install Butler as a near absolute ruler, with Roosevelt retaining only a puppet role. The plot may have been successful except that Butler didn’t agree and testified of the plot before a specially convened committee. Butler gave many names of influential financiers who were involved in the plot, but was later to express disappointment with its findings : “Like most committees it has slaughtered the little and allowed the big to escape. The big shots weren’t even called to testify. They were all mentioned in the testimony. Why was all mention of these names suppressed from the testimony?” . Although the committee found the allegations credible, no one was ever prosecuted for what amounted to a conspiracy far more dangerous than that carried out on 9/11. The media at the time largely laughed it off as a couple of crackpots.
Could it be that powerful business interests have continued to exert influence and even conspired to take illegal actions to further their own businesses? Mass media is now more concentrated in the hands of a few large corporations and public opinion can perhaps be influenced and controlled to greater degree than ever before. Lets now look at a possible contemporary conspiracy.
One week after the 9/11 attack came the Anthrax attacks in the United States. Letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to several news media offices and two Democratic U.S. Senators, killing five people and infecting 17 others. The letters contained messages that would implicate Muslim terrorists as being the source of the attacks eg :
THIS IS NEXT
TAKE PENACILIN NOW
DEATH TO AMERICA
DEATH TO ISRAEL
ALLAH IS GREAT
Immediately after the attacks there were reports in the media that Iraq and Al-Qaeda were implicated in them. The Anthrax attacks contributed to the general climate of fear in the population that ushered in the Patriot Act and ultimately the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Much later after investigation by several laboratories, the strain of Anthrax was found to be relatively rare, isolated from a cow in Texas in 1981 and limited to sixteen bio-research labs within the U.S. and three other locations (Canada, Sweden and the United Kingdom). This was an inside job.
After several years the FBI concentrated their investigation on one suspect Bruce Edward Ivins, a scientist who worked in a Government bio-defense lab in Maryland. Ivins committed suicide on August 27, 2008 and two weeks later the FBI declared Ivins the sole perpetrator and subsequently closed the investigation. A review by the National Academy of Sciences in Feb 2011 found that there was insufficient evidence that the strain of Anthrax originated from Ivin’s laboratory. There is still no direct evidence that Ivins was the culprit.
Was there a plot to engineer a false attack, to be blamed on Iraq and Al-Qaeda. Was there a cover-up? Was it then blamed on a scape-goat? Why isn’t this reported on more widely, why wasn’t there more of an outcry for an investigation of this attack?
The truth is out there.